On the holiday of Shavuot, the 6th day of the month of Sivan, 3313 years ago, the entire Jewish nation received the Torah on Mount Sinai and heard the Ten commandments from God Himself. The Torah primarily presents the feast of Shavuot as a harvest festival, which represented the end of the barley harvest and the first fruits of the wheat harvest (Shemot / Ex 34:22; Bamidbar / Num 28:26; Devarim / Deut 16:10). Later, Jewish tradition links Shavuot with the day Israel received the Torah at Sinai.
Traditionally dairy products are often eaten because Song of Songs compares the Torah to milk — some stay awake all night in one long study session of the Torah. Generally Exodus (or at least the 10 commandments) are read along with the book of Ruth on this holy day. In Acts we learn Shavuot was the day the Ruach (Holy Spirit) fell on the emmisaries in Jerusalem and began Its indwelling ministry within believers. This festival is also known as Chag HaKatzir (Festival of Harvesting) and Yom HaBikkurim (a second First Fruits). After the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE Shavuot became primarily identified with the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, therefore Shavuot is also called Z’man matan Torateinu (the time of the giving of our Torah). As Messianic Jews, Shavuot takes on additional meaning as the context of Acts chapter 2, when the Ruach HaKodesh was poured out in a greater manifest way upon those gathered upon the Temple Mount.
It is started with Pesach or Passover, a picture of redemption then the two-month wait is nearly over now, and we anticipate a time to recommit our lives to the God of Israel. This time is recognized as Shavuot or Pentecost. The Hebrew word "sheva" means "seven", "shavu’ah" means "week", and "shavu’ot" means "weeks". So the word "Chag Shavuot" means "The Festival of Weeks". On Shavuot we are commanded to remember the revelation given at Sinai as written in Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:9 and to spiritually revive the receiving of the Torah.
Shavuot is symbolic of an engagement. It is a day when God betrothal / engages Israel as His own people, separates from all others. The goal of Passover redemption was to set us free to become God’s own treasured people (am segulah), a light to the nations: ambassadors for Heaven’s voice.
We have been saved from our spiritual exile when the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) was given to us (Ma’aseh HaShlichim / Acts 2). Also, we have been engaged as His own Bride, separate from all others when we received the Ruach HaKodesh.
In Jewish tradition, the second day of Sivan is called Yom Hameyuchat or "Yom Yichut," the "Day of Distinction" – since it was on this day that God told the Israelites that He would make them into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Shemot / Exo 19:5-6).
Shavuot is a unique jewel, and within it gleams a hope of the world to come. The giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai was a dramatic and miraculous experience. It was filled with thunder, lightning, trembling blasts of a heavenly shofar, and HaShem descending on the mountain in a column of fire. At the base of the mountain, trembling before God, we took upon ourselves the mitzvot through our utterance of “na’ase v’nishma” – that everything HaShem has said, we will do and we will obey.
Yet this is not the end of the story. For within the giving of the Torah was a remez, a hint of more to come. Our sages teach us that, “R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan’s name: All the prophets prophesied [all the good things] only in respect of the Messianic era; but as for the world to come ‘the eye hath not seen, O Lord, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.’ Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 99a”
Our holy prophets foretold that a renewal of Torah would be brought through Mashiach, when God would take the Torah and inscribe it upon our hearts, making it ever more personal. This must happen in order to prepare the world for the final culmination of Yemot HaMashiach – the Messianic Age.
Since Shavuot recalls the time when Israel received revelation from God at Sinai, at daybreak additional prayers and blessings are recited at the synagogue for the gift of the Torah. However, since ignoring the Torah leads to ruin, admonition to pursue the study of Torah is also made during this time.
Studying God’s revelation is a prelude to re-experiencing the joy of His Presence, though this requires diligence and hard work. In order to understand what HaShem requires of us, we must make effort to study the Torah. We therefore ask God to make Torah sweet on our tongues and to help us be "engrossed" in the words of the Scriptures.
All of this, obviously enough, indicates that Shavuot is a time when we are called to engage ourselves in the study of God’s revelation and Torah. Torah learning is not an individual act. When we learn to "talk Torah" with each other as members of a community, we share the greater message of redemptive love that the Mashiach gave to the world.
Within Ma’aseh HaShlichim, the emissaries and followers of Mashiach were gathered together observing Shavuot when the promise of our holy prophets became a reality. In events similar to the original giving of the Torah (heavenly voices, miraculous occurrences), a fire descended similar to the fire which fell on Mt. Sinai. However, this time the fire descended and divided itself, and came to rest upon each individual who was present. This experience caused the Written Torah and the Living Torah, through the Ruach, to be inscribed upon the deepest parts of our hearts, enabling a new heavenly power, and Malchut HaShamayim, the Kingdom of Heaven to be infused into the earth in a new way.
Let us prepare our heart for the Living Torah who will come in the near future! Maranatha!
Tags: 10 commandments, 6th day, acts chapter, barley harvest, book of ruth, first fruits, harvest festival, hebrew word, holy day, jewish nation, jewish tradition, messianic jews, mt sinai, pesach, rsquo, Ruach HaKodesh, Shavuot, song of songs, wheat harvest, yom habikkurim
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